“March Retail Sales Grew Despite Higher Inflation” by J. Craig Shearman via National Retail Federation

“March Retail Sales Grew Despite Higher Inflation” by J. Craig Shearman via National Retail Federation

“We believe the strength of the consumer can carry the economy through this considerable economic uncertainty.”NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay WASHINGTON – Retail sales grew in March even as inflation edged higher, the National Retail Federation said today.“March retail sales show that consumers have maintained their ability to spend in the face of record-level inflation, supply chain issues and geopolitical unrest,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Consumers are adapting and shopping smarter for themselves and their families. We believe the strength of the consumer can carry the economy through this considerable economic uncertainty if policymakers implement measured policies and do not overreact to current conditions.”“While prices soared in March and eroded spending power, shoppers remained resilient and sales were healthy,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Consumers have the willingness to spend and their ability to do so has been supported by rapid hiring, increased wages, larger-than-usual tax refunds and the use of credit. They are largely dealing with the shock of gas prices but will be facing higher interest rates as the Federal Reserve tightens monetary policy in the coming months. The challenge for the Fed is to cool off demand without pushing the economy into a dramatic slowdown.”The U.S. Census Bureau today said overall retail sales in March were up 0.5 percent seasonally adjusted from February and up 6.9 percent year over year. That compared with increases of 0.8 percent month over month and 18.2 percent year over year in February. Despite occasional month-over-month declines, sales have grown year over year every month since May 2020, according to Census data.NRF’s calculation of retail sales – which excludes automobile...
“December retail sales were strong, no matter what the clickbait headlines said” by Steve Dennis via Retail Wire

“December retail sales were strong, no matter what the clickbait headlines said” by Steve Dennis via Retail Wire

Photo: RetailWire Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion, is a summary of  Steve Dennis’ recent Forbes article. Steve is President & Founder of SageBerry Consulting and a senior Forbes Contributor. He is the author of Remarkable Retail: How to Win and Keep Customers in the Age of Disruption. The U.S. Commerce Department released its monthly retail sales report Friday morning and, within minutes, my social media feed lit up with gloom and doom takes on the alleged sorry state of shopping. Various outlets ran negative headlines suggesting sales in December had dropped precipitously. Much of the reporting focused on results coming in “below expectations.” There is so much wrong in all of this. As a senior executive at two Fortune 500 retailers and a consultant/analyst for 30 years, I’m hard pressed to name one person whom I respect who pays much attention to month-over-month numbers. What we focus on is the year-over-year numbers (and more recently, because of COVID, the so-called two-year stack). Depending on which definition of retail you prefer (some exclude auto, gasoline and/or restaurant revenues), sales were up between 14 and 19 percent year-over-year — much higher than average and a record for the month. Then there is this whole expectation thing. I, for one, fully expected December to be lower than November — and so did most other folks in retail I talk to. Why? It’s been obvious supply chain concerns and earlier retailer promotions pulled a lot of holiday sales into October and November. Oh, there’s also a little thing called the Omicron surge. To be sure, there are reasons for concern. Inflation, supply chain issues, labor shortages, likely higher...
“Will 2022 be the Year of the Dark Horse in Retail?” by Arick Wierson via The Robin Report

“Will 2022 be the Year of the Dark Horse in Retail?” by Arick Wierson via The Robin Report

My father grew up on a farm in central Iowa in the 1930s and 40s, and although life in the post-Depression heartland was pretty harsh, among his fondest memories from his childhood are those of his many horses, each one of them different shades of black. As a youngster, he had a black Shetland Pony named “Spanky.” Then in middle school came “Spot,” a black Murgese And in his final years of high school, his father – my grandpa, who by this time was feeling a bit less worried with the worst of the Great Depression more than two decades in the past, splurged and gave my dad a powerful riding horse named “Lucky,” a jet-black Percheron – apparently a ‘big hit’ with ladies in town (OK, whatever you say, dad.) . It is pretty much a given at this point that retailers will eventually have to enable payment and checkout solutions that accept Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin. Anyway, decades later when yours truly was growing up in 70s and 80s in the Minneapolis suburbs, apparently my father felt that there was a gaping hole in my psycho-emotional development in that I had very little interaction with farm life, in particular, with horses. And the way in which he attempted to fill this void was with a near-endless menagerie of equine-themed birthday toys, trips to the annual ‘Horse Show” at the Minnesota State Fair and, of course, several trips to the cinema to see the now classic 1979 film “The Black Stallion,” starring Mickey Rooney and Teri Garr. Now, by this point, you are likely asking yourself what all...
“How to Improve Talent Retention This Holiday Season” by Dr. Natalie Baumgartner via Total Retail

“How to Improve Talent Retention This Holiday Season” by Dr. Natalie Baumgartner via Total Retail

Credit: iStock.com by Drazen Retail workers are leaving their jobs at a record pace, with 721,000 workers quitting in August alone, maintaining an industry high for employee turnover since April. What’s more, employers in the retail space that were already facing massive labor shortages are now also preparing for increased seasonal hiring — making employee engagement more critical than ever. Employee engagement is a key driver of employee motivation, retention and happiness — and is a critical factor for retailers to empower their workforces. To foster a culture of engagement, it’s essential that retail leaders establish meaningful connections throughout their organization. However, it’s difficult to create connections among retail employees as frontline team members hold a customer-facing position, working less collaboratively with their managers than in a traditional office setting. This lack of connection is creating a disengaged workforce as only 65 percent of retail employees are engaged. So, what will it take to retain and engage workers during the busiest season of the year? Let’s dive into three strategies retail leaders should consider. Encourage Frequent Recognition at All Levels Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of employees wish they received more recognition at work. When employees are regularly recognized it results in lower turnover. Fostering a culture of employee recognition is clearly critical for retention, but the approach must come from the top, and recognition should be ingrained in every aspect of the company to make a real cultural shift. To create a culture of recognition, retail leaders must approach it like all business objectives, with a plan of action. Employers can activate their recognition strategy by prioritizing manager check-ins, incentivizing internal recognition and providing rewards, which can include...
“Concerns over omicron could shift spending away from experiences, retail trade group says” by Melissa Repko via CNBC

“Concerns over omicron could shift spending away from experiences, retail trade group says” by Melissa Repko via CNBC

A person with a hand full of shopping bags walks by as Black Friday sales begin at The Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass in Simpsonville, Kentucky, November 26, 2021.Jon Cherry | Reuters KEY POINTS National Retail Federation CEO Matt Shay said Tuesday that the new coronavirus variant could direct more dollars toward electronics, toys, apparel and other items instead of vacations and movie tickets.News of the omicron strain came during a key time for holiday shopping.The trade group reiterated its forecast of between $843.4 billion and $859 billion of sales in November and December, which would represent an all-time high in holiday spending. As Americans bought gifts during the peak Thanksgiving shopping weekend, the discovery of the omicron variant made headlines and prompted action by public health officials. National Retail Federation CEO Matt Shay said Tuesday that the coronavirus strain could shake up spending patterns this holiday season and direct more dollars toward electronics, toys, apparel and other items instead of vacations and movie tickets. “We know, unfortunately, that when the variants have had a real impact on the economy, the goods side of the economy has actually benefited from that because people change behavior away from the experience side of the economy and spend more time and more dollars engaged in the goods side of the economy,” he said on a call with reporters. Holiday sales are expected to grow to an all-time high of between $843.4 billion and $859 billion of sales in November and December, which represents growth of 8.5% to 10.5% this year, according to the National Retail Federation. The trade group reiterated its rosy forecast for the holiday season on...
“ICSC: 86% of consumers will shop over Thanksgiving weekend” by Tatiana Walk-Morris via Retail Dive

“ICSC: 86% of consumers will shop over Thanksgiving weekend” by Tatiana Walk-Morris via Retail Dive

image by Libby Penner Dive Brief: As shoppers prepare for the busiest shopping weekend of the year, a new report from ICSC predicts that consumers will spend $491 on average between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, bringing in a total of over $108 billion for the weekend. Of the ICSC’s 1,015 survey respondents, 36% said they plan to choose where to shop based on discounts, followed by product availability (31%) and product variety (22%). Nearly half of shoppers (49%) will shop at brick-and-mortar stores on Thanksgiving Day, and just over half (51%) plan only to shop online. But while almost three-fourths (73%) of consumers plan to shop either online or in-store on Black Friday, the majority (81%) of Cyber Monday shoppers plan to buy their holiday goods online. Of the consumers heading to malls this holiday season, 59% will go there to shop, 47% will dine at a restaurant, 24% will go to a movie and 15% want to take their child to visit Santa Claus. Dive Insight: Though retailers like Best Buy, Target and Walmart have been introducing deals earlier this year — a practice that might stick around for the foreseeable future — the ICSC survey indicates that many consumers are keeping up with Black Friday and Cyber Monday traditions. Per the survey findings, 86% of consumers plan to shop between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday. How they plan to shop differs. A report from Shopify noted that nearly all (94%) respondents said they will make their holiday purchases online for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and 65% will do so in stores.  Though a sizable share of consumers plans to shop during the Black Friday weekend, retailers are divided on whether to remain...